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29th November
written by Catherine An

This morning, while compiling the weekend’s clips, I noticed a number of news stories about homeless youth.

Niche topics in this field all have their time: In January, it’s about community counts, in February it can be about the cold and shelters; you can count on a slew of stories about veterans in November and stories urging charity and philanthropy once the holidays roll around. But the last few weeks have been unusual – stories from North Carolina and Wisconsin and Virginia and Ohio about homeless young people.

And it’s about time.

We’ve talked about it before (well, Jeremy has.) Youth homelessness is an issue that’s often overlooked and under-examined. Youth, in that no man’s land between child and adult, can baffle homeless assistance providers who often deal with single adults or families. Unaccompanied youth – sometimes youth who age out of the foster care system or exit the juvenile justice system or run away from home – can be faced with an overwhelming dearth of services available to them once they find themselves homeless.

And it’s the perfect time to address such a problem.

The Alliance has kicked off an effort encouraging communities to include youth in next January’s point-in-time counts – and we’re also smack in the middle of a site visit campaign, encouraging local service providers to invite their Members of Congress to drop by and observe their assistance programs. Making the issue real – by collecting data and engaging an audience – can demonstrate the importance of a cause and encourage people to focus on real solutions.

Youth homelessness is an issue that’s too long stood in the background – but now is an opportunity to do something productive. Tell us about youth homelessness in your area – are there programs in your neighborhood making a difference?


  1. 29/11/2010

    Promise House, Inc. has been an open door for homeless and runaway teens since 1984. We provide emergency shelter, transitional living, street outreach, and parenting teen services. In Dallas, TX, where homeless teens are even more invisible than in other cities, Promise House has led the charge for years to bring the issue to light and get help for these young people.

  2. 29/11/2010

    The first of January singer/song writer Jimmy Wayne, who was once a homeless youth himself, started a walk from Nashville TN to Phoenix AZ to raise awarness of youth aging out of foster care, he called his walk “MMH” which stands for Meet Me Halfway. That walk inspired thousands of people to help get the word out about teen homelessness. Jimmy has played at Wagon Wheel festivles across the Country, and has done a 5k walk. This is something that is very near and dear to Jimmy’s heart, when Jimmy was 15 he found himself homeless until a older couple took him in and gave him a home, which helped turn his life around. Please go to to learn more about mmh and how you can help end teen homelessness.

  3. 30/11/2010

    Covenant House California (CHC) is a non-profit agency whose mission is to reach out to at-risk homeless youth living on the streets and offer them hope and opportunities to turn their lives around. We help abused or neglected youth who have nowhere else to go. A large number have been thrown out of their homes while others have aged out or left the foster care system with no family, no support, and no one to turn to.

    Since 1988, CHC has impacted the lives of more than 160,000 homeless youth out of our Los Angeles and Bay Area locations. More than 80% of our funding comes from private donations.

  4. 01/12/2010

    Hi guys – thanks so much for your comments! We’ll be in touch to learn more about your programs shortly!

  5. Andre

    @ Dr. Boorhem: Thank you for bringing Promise House Inc., to the attention of the Alliance. I plan to look into its Transitional Living Program and your work with parenting teens.

    @Arianna: Thank you for letting us know about MMH. It’s always good to hear about people and organizations raising the awareness of youth homelessness.

    @Miguel: I met with Eslisabeth Lean of Covenant House about 2 weeks ago and she left me with reports to further read up on Covenant House’s great work.

    Also, we appreciate you checking out our blog!

  6. 07/03/2011

    @Andre: I’ve actually never met Elisabeth since she’s with CH Research Institute, but I imagine she will be an invaluable resource for you and your work here.

    Hope to stay in touch.